PROMOTION BATTLE HOTTING UP
The battle for Division Two promotion is reaching fever pitch as three sides are within touching distance of a top three finish.
Dallam D look favourites to take the title as they lie in top spot, holding a one point advantage and a game in hand over second placed rivals Natland D. Natland D’s Liam Hogan, Andrew Hudson and Mick Taylor are currently in second place, one point behind the leaders.
Kirkby Stephen A boosted their promotion prospects as they mauled Dent B 9-1. Danny Smith scored Dent’s solitary point with a nerve wracking 15-13 success in a tense fifth set thriller with Tom Walton. Pete George and Dave White won all three matches for Kirkby, though Pete Hawley was unfortunate not to increase Dent’s point haul, as he lost out in five sets 11-5 and 13-11 to George and Walton respectively. Kirkby now lie in third position four points off a promotion place. Dent B meanwhike, continue to prop up the division and look almost certain for relegation.
At the opposite end of the table, two sides from three contenders look certain for the drop. One of those sides, Grayrigg A are two points away from safety following a 7-3 defeat against Kirkby Stephen B. Jon Cooper won three games for Grayrigg, including an 11-1 triumph in the marathon final set against Chris Horn. Grayrigg’s only other point came courtesy of Kevin Hunter’s 11-6 triumph in the fifth set against Gerry Baines. Kirkby snatched the victory thanks to Eric Robinson’s three victories and a double win for Baines. Kirkby now occupy a mid table sixth placed position.
Dent A are perilously close to relegation, as they teeter one place above the drop zone. Dent scored a credible 4 points in a narrow 6-4 defeat at the hands of Burton C. Burton’s Tony March and James Burton won two games apiece, while team mate Dan Herd won one match 11-9, 13-11. 11-9 against Steve Hawley. Dent’s points came from Steve Hawley’s two successes against Burton and March, adding to Ross Sedgwick and Wayne Gardner’s single victories against Herd. The win leaves Burton C in fourth place, with a slim but improbable chance of promotion.
In Division Three, Crook C head the division by twenty-six points after recording their fifteenth success of the season 30-3 against Grayrigg B. Olly Philpott Smith was unfortunate not to get a win for Grayrigg, losing out narrowly 13-11 in a drama filled final set showdown. Crook’s trio of Ben Metsers, Paul Metsers and Chris Mowat now look favourites to take the title.
Natland F lie in second place, twenty six points behind the leaders thanks to a tight 22-21 victory against Burton E. Burton’s Mark Stitch scooped the man of the match award as he won all three matches including two five set triumphs 11-7 and 11-8 against Glen Allen and Ed Pickthall respectively. Aidan Branch and Brian Gourlay both chipped in with single victories against Ed Pickthall. Natland’s Allen and George Pickthall won two matches apiece to give their side the narrow success.
Burton E lie in third place, while Natland E have slipped to fourth, having a game in hand over their rivals